Minneapolis educators were back on the picket lines Thursday, marking the eighth day of a strike that has canceled classes for the district's 28,700 students.

More than 100 students held a sit-in inside school district headquarters, where after a couple hours they were met by members of the district's negotiating team. They spent the morning calling for a meeting with Superintendent Ed Graff and expressing their support for the main priorities laid out by the teachers' union.

The students also objected to crowded classrooms and Graff's salary, which is about $230,000 a year, as teachers strike for more equitable raises.

One of the district officials meeting the students was Maggie Sullivan, the district's senior officer of human resources, who announced her resignation Thursday after 12 years with Minneapolis Public Schools. Sullivan is "committed to continuing with the team through the conclusion of the strike," according to a statement from district officials.

Also Thursday, the union representing Minneapolis food service workers announced it had reached a tentative agreement with MPS. Details were not made public, but the union said the agreement includes a "historic" wage increase of up to 24% over the three years of the contract. Earlier this week, union leaders said they intended to strike if an agreement couldn't be reached.

Eric Moore, the district's head of accountability, research and equity and a member of the negotiating team, pulled up a chair in the lobby of district headquarters Thursday morning to listen to the concerns of the students there. He took questions about their concerns, as well as the district's finances and its efforts to recruit and retain educators of color — something both he and the students agreed should be a priority.

"That was a really positive thing to see," Moore said, adding that the students also expressed a desire to get back to class quickly. District leaders said this week they have asked union leaders to end the strike and continue negotiations with classes in session.

"The fastest way to get kids in school is to settle this contract," said Greta Callahan, president of the teachers' chapter of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. The union maintains that the district was not willing to negotiate earlier this week, a claim that district leaders have disputed.

On Wednesday, dozens of Black educators and leaders of the Minneapolis NAACP gathered at district headquarters to call for more protections for teachers and support staffers of color in Minneapolis contracts.

According to Moore, the district's latest equity proposal includes a memorandum of agreement to protect educators of color, a plan to add equity training and changes in hiring practices, and timelines designed to help with recruitment.

School Board Member Sharon El-Amin on Thursday reiterated the need to keep the equity proposals as a priority in negotiations.

"My hope is that we will truly dig into the equity part of it and make sure that our Black and brown educators are taken care of," El-Amin said. "There are lot of inequities we need to deal with other than the dollars on the table. Want to make sure families that look like me are being heard."

North High School student Ayanna Melander, 15 — the daughter of North High Principal Mauri Friestleben — was one of the students who joined the sit-in Thursday.

Melander said she wants more teachers of color at North. She said she would rather be protesting gun violence that has taken the lives of too many of her classmates than fighting for her teachers to get paid. "I'm going to make this part of my schedule to be out here every day," she said.

The students used a megaphone to voice their frustrations. Organizers Dom Newell, 17, and Emi Gacaj, 18, both seniors at Southwest High School, said they wanted to speak with Graff.

"We're here to back our teachers," Newell said. "[District officials] talked a lot about how what the teachers are doing ... is hurting our students. But it's not really hurting us because we're here to support our teachers, the same way that they're here to support us."